Body Armor


February 21, 2003, 03:20 AM
I know this has nothing to do with weapons but I have received an invitation to visit my sister-in-law in California (I live in Asia) and would like to bring my class IIA kevlar vest along for protection.

With the amped up security at American airports, will I encounter any trouble from police/security staff if body armor is found in my luggage or if I wear my kevlar through customs? I am a foreign national from a non moslem country.

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February 21, 2003, 03:26 AM
Not sure what the laws are but I can not see why it would be a question is why do you need it? What part of California you visiting? If it is the bad parts of L.A. then maybe I can see it, but the vast areas of California it will just give you heat stroke! :rolleyes:

February 21, 2003, 03:45 AM
Hello Bruz,

Will be going to San Jose...staying there for 3 days or so and then heading north to cooler states. Beatings and slashings are common in my home country while gun crime is rare. Not sure what to expect in Cali or the states to it's north but I sure want to survive if shot by a 9mm pistol or other gang favoured weapon.

Will wearing the vest at night be manageable?

February 21, 2003, 04:54 AM
I was just yesterday considering the wearing of a kevlar vest thru the airport terminal and on to destination (both CONUS). Is it legal?
unfortunately, legal has little to do with it nowadays, so a better question is: will you be hassled? detained? handcuffed and executed on the spot right after that 90-year-old nun they strip-searched and her 95-year old Medal of Honor winning brother who are travelling togehter suspiciously avoiding resemblance to young middle eastern males?
Sorry, couldn't help myself.

February 23, 2003, 08:17 PM
What about the laws in other States like NY, DC, IL, NV? Would there be any problems if one is searched by LEOs or Federal officers and found to be wearing body armor but carrying NO weapons?

Double Naught Spy
February 23, 2003, 08:59 PM
I don't know of any actual states or jurisdictions where body armor is illegal for non-felon and non-leo people to wear. That does not mean that some places have not made it illegal, only that I am not familiar with any. Places like CA, NJ, or NY might be probable candidates where some stupid laws against body armor might be in place.

As noted, however, wearing body armor at an American airport might be seen as very suspicious. In a way, that is ironic as body armor is actually a purely defensive and passive item. I would think that given the regulations for planes here in the US, body armor would be the best possible self protection option as a law abiding citizen. Unfortunately, security will probably see body armor as a defense item worn by a person who is undoubtedly expecting trouble, such as by a person who would be the one to start trouble.

If you have lightweight IIA, it may be possible for you to make it through security while wearing your armor under your clothing and nobody ever notice it. Some of the newer materials make armor considerably thinner, especially with a lower level of protection like IIA. So, assuming you are not physically searched, no one would know.

As a final comment, getting into the US might be less of a problem than getting out while wearing the armor. Coming into the US, what the security/customs folks will be looking for is contraband and people trying to enter illegally. Going out, they will be working to make sure the plane is not boarded by people with weapons or who might pose a risk to the plane. Body armor might put you into that perceived category.

Good luck and please let us know how things turn out. It would be interesting to know.

February 23, 2003, 09:13 PM
would it be easier if I put the kevlar vest into my check-in luggage?

Derek Zeanah
February 23, 2003, 11:30 PM
I thought during the MD "sniper" attacks that it came out that MD citizens weren't allowed to possess body armor...

Could be wrong, though. Anyone know for sure?

February 23, 2003, 11:49 PM
:cuss: This is going too far! I am not be an American but I do feel that second ammendment rights are very precious and it's exercise should be free and unfettered for all non-felons and sane people.

In fact, :fire: ALL law abiding US citizens should be GIVEN a class II vest of their choice...along with a coupon for discounted shotgun/revolver purchase and a small yearly sample of self defense ammo.

February 24, 2003, 04:45 AM
In fact, ALL law abiding US citizens should be GIVEN a class II vest of their choice...

Easy there Kannonfyre, I think you may be reading too much bad press about the U.S. It really ain't that bad. Any big city will have it's areas that you would want to avoid, but unless you are in the very worst area of San Jose you are sure to be fine. As far as going further up the northern States, you will be just fine there also...unless you like wear lipstick or burn the American flag, or are French. :rolleyes:

You may want to call the airlines and inquire about the vest...if you wear black boots and a leather jacket you'll just be making a fashion statement!

Good luck and enjoy yourself.

February 24, 2003, 08:38 AM
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
If you are visting the US to see people you know, I would expect their living in the area permanently without problems should give you some sense of security.

If the friends/relatives you are visiting don't die daily on San Jose what makes you think you are going to have these issues while here?

Live free, take your chances and when in Rome--well, you know.


February 24, 2003, 03:47 PM
I'll add my opinions:

-If you were discovered by airport security to be wearing body armor, you would, IMO, MOST DEFINITELY be detained/questioned/harassed/etc. for quite some time. You would most likely be seen, as Double Naught said, as someone trying to protect yourself from trouble, and likely to BE the one starting the trouble.

Oh, and what's this? METAL zippers on your bags? You obviously had plans to use those to take over the plane!!! :rolleyes:

-If you do want to bring it, I would definitely check it. Again, if you are lucky enough to have your checked bags searched and they discovered the armor, you would probably be questioned at least, detained at worst, IMO. (But I don't know for a fact...just speculating seeing as how security is tighter than heck lately)

Lastly, what have you seen/heard about the US, specifically CA that would prompt you to WANT to wear body armor while visiting here?

I mean, carry a gun is one thing, but IMO, the body armor is a bit overboard. (Not that my opinion matters, and by all means do whatever you want, but IMO, CA is NOT that crazy.)

Unless you're going to be staying in South-Central or something, in which case you'd be better off staying at home.

Again, just my opinions, but do what you want.

Good luck

Don Gwinn
February 24, 2003, 04:52 PM
Illinois has some kind of statute on body armor--let me look it up.

February 24, 2003, 08:02 PM
I mean no disrespect to everyone and am not trying to imply that the situation in the US is terrible.

I'm just that someone took a swipe at me with a knife outside a bar in NY about 3 years ago and the only thing that prevented my guts from being sliced was a concealable kevlar vest that I was wearing at that time. I ran for dear life and have not been a victim of armed crime ever since.....

I guess the bottom line is that I want to be prepared for all eventualities.

On my response that every American should be issued with kevlar, I'm not trying to imply that they NEED it, only that they should have the option of using one should they feel the need to (i.e passing through a rough area or if the next sniper decides to rear his ugly head.) The point about discounted shotgun/revolver purchase and free ammo for self defence is only my way of expressing admiration for the second amendment rights of US citizens.

Once again, apologies to all and sorry of I offended anyone. Cheers!

February 24, 2003, 08:25 PM
Once again, apologies to all and sorry of I offended anyone. Cheers!

No offense taken, living in California I just wanted to educate you that it is over all a very safe mentioned parts of LA, New York, and the once a decade sniper aside, I have no fear traveling anywhere in the U.S. If you feel that you still need a vest you might try mailing it to your family. Have a fun visit, enjoy yourself!

February 24, 2003, 08:40 PM
Ditto Bruz's post.

No offense at all!!!

But I thought that most body armor was pretty useless against blades? :confused:

February 24, 2003, 09:35 PM
kevlar has high slashing resistance but less than stirling stabbing resistance. :evil: Anyhow, my vest is rated to class IIA and a stabbing attack of no more than 24.5 joules of energy.

February 24, 2003, 10:42 PM
San Jose is one of the safest big cities in the USA. Very little violent crime, and although gang violence is growing it usually does not flow into the streets. Home invasion can be more common in certain ethnic Asian communities -if you are Vietnamese or Laotian then perhaps.

San Jose is still in Silicon Valley, you have a higher chance of getting beaten up by unemployed engineers, jumped by disgruntled Starbucks employees or run over by a BMW than you will hear of gunplay. The average price of a home in SJ is still over $500,000 and some multimillions+.

If you still feel the necessity, the go ahead by all means, just check it in at the airport. Nothing preventing you from wearing one in CA.

February 25, 2003, 09:45 AM
Kevlar can be "cut" quite easily.

Blunt force [ stabs] are an iffy thing with the vests. An ice pick will go throug one like butter.

Some of thje cheaper knives will have their blade tips broken in the attempt.

Other designs like the tanto's and armour piecing tipped blades will zip right through if enough force is applied.

Vests are easily cut [ sliced]. They still give a good level of protection against the slash and I would certainly want to be wearing one if taking slashes as at the least they will provide a chance that the cut is minimized in depth after having gone through the vest first.

There are vests specifically designed with defeating a stabbing attack.


February 25, 2003, 01:29 PM
San Jose is one of the safest large cities in the country--at least according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office :). I wouldn't worry about needing the vest. If you want to bring it, I'd pack it in your checked luggage just to avoid incident.

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